Recycling brings a sigh of relief

A some of you may know, April 22 is Earth Day, and many communities  plan events for environmental awareness. In my town, today was a big recycling project. People brought electronics, scrap metal, clothing, textiles, housewares,  books and paper documents to the park where their items would then be sorted and taken to a recycling facility.

This year, in addition to several years worth of old bills and stacks of paper we no longer needed to save, I was able to finally let go of something that brought a great sigh of relief…

A week ago, my youngest made his decision on where he is going to college this fall! It seems like this process of searching colleges, visiting campuses, writing applications and the waiting…. oh the agonizing waiting for responses… has been going on forever. In actuality, it started just 6 years ago- which kind of is forever in a parent’s mind. My eldest spent hours reading about schools and sending away for brochures. She also worked hard at her preparation for college and took SATs and ACTs multiple times. There was a stack of practice test books on the shelf — more than a foot wide. Then there were the AP exam books- World History, Biology, Calculus- and the SAT II Subject practice tests- Math II and English. Again, all of these added up to at least another foot of space on the shelf.     IMG_3179



Lastly, there were the books ranking colleges, advising how to write a college essay and hundreds of pamphlets, brochures and other promotional material that both of my children had accumulated either in the mail or during campus visits. I probably should have taken a photo of the massive amount of paper these items took up, but, truthfully, I was so eager and ready to get rid of it. I never considered I would want to see it again. These collective items only symbolized the ongoing process of getting ready for college and the enormous amounts of stress that were heaped upon all members of the family.

Anyway, my husband and I loaded up our car and drove to the park this afternoon. The man who directed us to the paper recycling location was a friend. When I told him what we were bringing, he agreed that we must be very relieved to have this process -of prepping our kids for college and actually getting them both into a school of their choice- behind us.

As I carried the huge armload of practice test books to the table, a volunteer followed me with the heavy bag of brochures. I placed the pile on the table for the other students to deal with and watched as the one carrying the bag dumped its contents into the giant recycling dumpster. I breathed a sigh of relief as I walked back to my car. I looked at my husband and smiled, “Isn’t it great to have this behind us!” He smiled as we drove away. “Happy Earth Day!”



5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Susan
    Apr 09, 2016 @ 17:23:57

    Lucky you! Still narrowing down here. And I have one more kid to go, but he is much more utilitarian than his sister, and will probably pick the school closest to home, so it should be easier.

    If you don’t mind posting – where did he choose?



    • themiddlegeneration
      Apr 10, 2016 @ 08:57:42

      He will be attending U MASS for Sustainable Food and Farming. They have a great ag program and cute college town. I’m not complaining it is within a couple hours of home. Good luck to your daughter. I hope she is happy with her choices.



  2. Donna Jonas
    Apr 09, 2016 @ 20:07:18

    Very good piece on many levels!
    Oh the landmarks in life and the memories and paraphernalia accompanying those times!



    • themiddlegeneration
      Apr 10, 2016 @ 09:00:32

      Ha ha. Some life baggage is worth carrying around (like my Grandmother’s china) and others (like these books) you can’t wait to get rid of. It was definitely time to pitch these. So ready to move on. Now we get to choose housing and classes- so it doesn’t really end- just a different phase.



  3. Susan
    Apr 11, 2016 @ 08:02:55

    Congrats to him! And I like your statement that some life baggage is worth carrying around. Too often, I think the minimalism movement discounts that. Some stuff IS meaningful.



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